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Lizzie Ashworth: Emily’s Very Special Halloween (Excerpt)
Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

Halloween is almost here, so this time, dear Delilah fans, I’m going to share a personal story before I tell you about my featured short story. Snuggle in with a cup of hot tea and tuck that blanket around your legs. And enjoy the hair standing up on your neck.

A friend had come to stay with me while she searched for a place to live. She had lived in Europe for several years, and on her journey back to the States had stayed for a time in London with an old friend. He was ailing and subsequently died. She told me about her mysterious experience with his ghost visiting her after his death.

After returning to the States, she lived at my house maybe two or three months before finding a rental she liked. After she moved out, a month or so later, I was sitting in the living room watching television like I did every night when I suddenly became aware of another presence in the house. The hair went up on my neck.

At first, I tried to convince myself it was my imagination, because that’s what we all do at moments like that, right? Then I reasoned that if someone had come in at the back end of the house through that seldom-used door, I would have heard it. It didn’t open without a creak. I heard no creak.

But after several minutes of very eerie energy wafting through the house, I forced myself to get up from the couch and go back there. I slowly crept the thirty feet down the hallway to that back door, gooseflesh on my arms. I even stopped to pick up a large bamboo rod to use on an intruder. I flipped on the hall lights, calling out ‘Who’s there?’

When I got to the room with the door, it was empty. So was the rest of that part of the house, including closets and under the beds. Yes, I checked. And the door was locked. But Something was there, an energy that was so strong and so haunting that I could feel it all around me.

Almost immediately, I realized it was the ghost of my friend’s friend. It must have followed her since she was the person who had seen him through his last days and communed with the ghost after her friend’s death. I remembered her remarks that she had visited with the ghost more than once.

Well, thanks a lot! I didn’t need that ghost, and I didn’t appreciate her leaving it here with me.

It was hostile, maybe because she had left it behind. I didn’t trust it. Didn’t want it. I tried to reason with myself. Maybe it was likely just lost.

So I addressed it. I stood there in the rooms she had stayed in and told it this wasn’t where it needed to be. I tried to change my energy from fear and resistance to a more loving and sympathetic frame of mind. It wasn’t easy because I was spooked, but I said it would rest better if it joined the other spirits in the places they lived. I told it to go to the light.

I thought it had listened because the presence seemed to leave. Later, though, when I went back to that part of the house after a few days, my eye caught on a work of art one of my kids had done in grade school. Taking pride of place near the end of the hallway, it was well-done rendering of a clown with a teardrop on its cheek that had always made it a sad image.

Well, now the image was not sad. It was demonic.

The ghost had taken up residence.

I admit I’m not a big fan of clowns in general, so there might have been some prejudice in my observation. But a couple of visiting neighbors got the same chill from looking at the painting. Disturbed by what was either a supernatural presence existing within my house or, alternatively, the fact that I was losing my mind, I ended up asking my daughter to take the art to her dad. Where it remains. I have not been bothered by that ghost again.

The ghost had no direct influence on the story of Emily’s Halloween. But living in the deep woods offers plenty of opportunities to let the spirit world walk tall in the imagination. The Halloween magic that created “Emily’s Very Special Halloween” started one afternoon with a sketchy idea for a writing project. It was an early fall day with the woods taking on their colors of orange, gold, and scarlet. A wind blew that morning, sending a kaleidoscope of color whirling through the air. I thought, okay, something with dark mystery would be nice. I’d figure it out the next morning.

During the night, this idea came to me about an ancient book and masculine magic. The next morning, I could think of nothing else. I sat down at my desk and, by noon, the story was finished.

I’ve never had that happen before. In the story, a book falls, quite literally, into Emily’s hands while she’s dusting shelves in the bookshop where she works. Bound in blackened ancient leather, the slim volume includes a title visible more from the indentation on the leather than by surviving lettering. Spells and Incantations, it says. She leafs through the brittle pages, muttering some of the strange words written there. From there, a story unfolds of sex magic and a mysterious dark stranger.

Excerpt from Emily’s Very Special Halloween

He wore a long black cape which only emphasized his masculine stature. His other garments also were black except for an elaborate vest with bizarre geometric markings that seemed to glow in the dark and move of their own accord in the reflected light of the bonfire. Faintly, she wondered if he found the vest in the same vintage shop.

His mouth reminded her of the man today in the bookstore. Her startled gaze returned to his face where a teasing smile lingered along his sensual lips. If the black mask covering his upper face were gone, would he…

She gasped. “Were you…”

“At the bookstore today?” He bowed slightly. “I’m flattered you remember. Yes, I like old books. I look around in every town I visit.”

“You’re visiting?” she stammered. God, she was horrible at this. Her face heated. “Well, I mean…”

One of his eyebrows lifted and his mouth pursed as if he choked back a laugh. “I’m teaching a short philosophy course on campus,” he said. “You would be welcome to sit in, if you like.”

“Oh, I’m taking seventeen hours plus I work, so… But thank you for inviting me.”

“Yes, of course,” he said smoothly. “So if this is the only time we might have to get acquainted, may I escort you around the grounds?”

Emily felt her jaw sag. Her glance at Sarah discovered an equally stunned expression. This man was older than her twenty-two years, certainly leagues beyond any of her classmates in terms of worldly wisdom. A visiting professor, no less. What was he doing at this party? Why her?

“Uh, sure,” she said, unable to think of any other response.

“I saw Harris over there,” Sarah said smoothly, pointing to a group of people several yards away. “I need to talk to him.”

Well, at least one of them had a clue about what to do next, Emily thought frantically. What now? There weren’t any ‘grounds’ here. He talked as if they were at some palatial estate with sculptured gardens and paved walkways. The ground here was rough with clumps of recently-mowed pasture grass and unexpected dips, most of it in shadow with only the bonfire to cast uneven light.

Her pulse fluttered in her throat. How had she found herself so far beyond her comfort zone—the dress, the party, and now this man? Too late. She almost regretted not staying at home. This whole idea from dressing up to attending the party was Sarah’s thing, not hers. Sarah loved going out. Emily, not so much. Actually not at all. She had the Friday evening schedule of television programs memorized, her go-to method of chilling out after a hard week of class and work.

A more reasonable concession to Halloween might have been a couple bags of candy for the neighborhood kids, assuming any of them ventured up the rickety outside staircase to her apartment door. Instead, here she was at somebody’s farm with a man touching her elbow sending shockwaves through her body. She glanced up.

“Don’t be afraid of me, Emily,” he said. “I think we should be formally introduced. I’m Ned Lucian, but everyone calls me Jack. Among other things,” he added with a grin.

“I’m, well, how did you know my name?” she said.

“Your name tag at work.”

“Oh, yeah, gee whiz.” She grinned sheepishly. “Emily Sanders. Nice to meet you, Jack.” She stuck out her hand.

The firm clasp of his hand seemed to burn her entire arm. She couldn’t seem to let go or even think of backing away. His presence surrounded her as if she had slipped inside his cloak. That incense scent she’d noticed in the changing room filled the still air, probably because her body had become hot and pulled the scent from the dress. Her breath came in short gasps. She felt dizzy.

Buy Links:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/750440
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075ZC1CP6

Anna M. Taylor: The Celebration of Discipline (Contest)
Thursday, October 15th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…flchen1!
*~*~*

Discipline? Uh oh. Where is this erotic romance writer taking us now? As usual to a place you never expected to go.

When I was an associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica NY I became friends and colleagues with Reverend Nancy Schaffer. Rev. Nancy was FPCJ’s pastoral care associate. She headed the pastoral care ministries of visitation and social service outreach. To keep these activities from being something on a to-do-list, she guided the congregation and us on staff in the care of self and one another through spiritual awareness and practice. She taught this A-personality, right-brain clergyperson to appreciate the mystical side of Christianity in ways I never had before. She slowed my rapid NYC pace via the stillness of labyrinth walks accompanied by the music of mystics like Julian of Norwich. From her, I experienced the power of Lectio Divina prayer and guided meditation.

One year, she used Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline as our Lenten study. In it, Foster describes twelve disciplines, i.e. spiritual practices, that help us experience transformation in our encounters with God. Foster outlines twelve disciplines in three categories: Inward (meditation, prayer, fasting, study), Outward (simplicity, solitude, submission, service) and Corporate (confession, worship, guidance, celebration). We also had a workbook that helped us individually and in small groups go deeper into the book as well as share what we were learning.

Searching for something else, I recently came across the book in my garage. Intrigued by the table of contents I’ve dedicated a week to each of the disciplines. I’m relearning how powerfully each discipline can anchor me in the reality of the spiritual, a reality Mitchell Emerson, the hero in A Little In Love With Death, finds he knows very little.

The week I focused on meditation I experienced once again the slowing down of Rev. Nancy’s labyrinth walks. By meditating on nature, I appreciated anew colors in flowers that had always been around me. I hadn’t realized how many blues the sky contained. I heard music in the different bird calls and trills that I’d never really listened to before. Through a technique called “palms up, palms down”, I experienced relief as I verbally released negative things weighing on me with my palms down and received positive things freeing me to relax and enjoy life with my palms up. Another technique had me sit quietly with a word or a phrase for a set period of time and just be. If something came to me during the time, fine. If nothing came to me, that was fine too.

This week I’ve delved into study and already had my preconceived notions of what study is blown to smithereens. I look forward to what the next few weeks have in store.

I’d love to hear what is helping you connect with something deeper or stay grounded during this anxiety-ridden time. Please share in the comments what’s helping you for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

A Little In Love With Death by Anna M. Taylor

Ten years ago no one — not even the man who said he loved her — believed Sankofa Lawford’s claim she had been brutally attacked by a ghost. Ten years later, an assault on a new victim brings her back to Harlem to a mother going mad, a brother at his wits’ end and a former love who wants a second chance. Sankofa longs for her family to be whole again, for love to be hers again, but not if she must relive the emotional pain created by memories of that night.

Mitchell Emerson is convinced science and reason can account for the ghostly happenings at Umoja House. He resolves to find an explanation that will not only satisfy him but earn back Sankofa’s trust and love. Instead, his own beliefs are shaken when he sees the ghost for himself.

Now reluctant allies, Mitchell and Sankofa learn her family was more than a little in love with death. Their search for the ghost draws them together but discovering sixty years of lies and secrets pulls them apart. As their hopes for happily ever after and dispersing the evil stalking Umoja House slip beyond their grasp, Mitchell and Sankofa find an unexpected source of help: the ghost itself.

Get your copy here!

Excerpt from A Little in Love with Death

“‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'”

            Mitchell leaned forward in the chair across from Professor John Mortimer. The neat and tidy mid-Century chrome, light wood and primary color surfaces defied the stereotyped clutter attributed to eccentric college professors.

            “That’s your realm more than mine, John. You’re the philosophy and religion professor.”

            Mortimer leaned back, his fingertips steepled. “But it’s why you sought me out, why you’re talking to me about this.”

            “Granted, but as I’m not in the camp of Biblical literalists, I don’t know how to interpret that verse.”

            Mortimer smiled. “Perhaps you’re more comfortable with Shakespeare? ‘There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophies, Horatio.'”

            Mitchell shook his head. “Nope. That’s equally unhelpful.”

            Professor Mortimer laughed. “Too metaphysical for your scientific tastes, Mr. Soon-to-be Commissioned Lay Pastor?”

            Mitchell shrugged. “Too metaphysical for someone who recently just put religion back in their portfolio.”

            Mortimer leaned a forearm across his desk’s glass surface. “So why don’t we start with the answer you want and work our way back to the truth?”

Mitchell dry scrubbed his face. Could he accept his answer wasn’t the truth? He studied his friend. A scientist and an evangelical believer, John Mortimer was Mitch’s bumblebee: the thing defied all the reasons for why it shouldn’t exist by its very existence.

Buy links: Amazon – Get your copy here!

*~*~*

Website: https://annamtaylor.webs.com
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N.J. Walters: Burning Ash (Excerpt)
Monday, September 21st, 2020

The Forgotten Brotherhood is my latest series. This is a truly diverse group of characters. It’s been challenging, maddening, and downright fun at times to watch their stories unfold. Now BURNING ASH, book three of the series, is finally here!

Who are the Forgotten Brotherhood? They’re a group of paranormal assassins, the misfits that other paranormal creatures fear. They aren’t the monsters lurking under the bed. They’re the ones that kill them. They live by a strict code: Kill only those that truly deserve it and let their gods sort them out. Kill them before they kill you. Never, ever betray a fellow assassin.

Burning Ash
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book 3

No one is more surprised than Asher, one of the oldest vampires on Earth, that he’s attracted to vamp hunter Jo Radcliffe. She’s smart, a talented slayer, and she’s gorgeous. Something about her pulls at him, like no one ever has before. For a man, whose name strikes fear in everyone––this is something new and intriguing. And quite possibly deadly, if she discovers his secret.

Jo has two things in common with the handsome Asher––they are both slayers and someone is messing with them in a very-much-trying-to-kill-them way. She’s not so happy about joining forces with a dude she doesn’t know. But he’s sexy as hell and really good at his job as one of the Forgotten Brotherhood, whose business it is to execute misbehaving paranormals.

She knows she’s bait in a larger plot to harm Asher and the Brotherhood. And there is nothing he won’t do, no line he won’t cross, to keep her safe––which may be the weakness that destroys them both.

Excerpt from Burning Ash

“Who the hell are you?” she demanded of the tall, lean man who was still mostly in the shadows. Whoever he was, he was dangerous, maybe even more so than the creature she’d just beheaded. He’d come out of nowhere and snatched the crossbow bolt out of the air like it hadn’t even been moving.

A shiver raced down her spine.

Dressed all in black, he blended with the dark. She hadn’t known he was there until he’d deliberately come forward. And she always had total situational awareness. It was a matter of survival.

Her profession had a very high mortality rate.

A nudge of his foot sent the vampire’s head rolling back toward the body. The undead would need to be burned if he didn’t start disintegrating soon, but she was keeping her distance from the man in black.

“Asher.” He gave her a half bow. “And you are?”

A quick shake of her head. “You don’t need to know.”

“That hardly seems fair considering I saved your life.”

“It didn’t need saving,” she asserted. “I’d already moved.”

“True,” Asher conceded. “You’re fast, but I didn’t know that. I should get points for the attempt.” He sauntered out of the dark and fully into the candlelight. The flames flickered over his face, exposing a strong jaw, straight nose, and high forehead. His blond hair was pulled back in a short tail at his nape. His skin was olive-toned or tanned, hard to say. Piercing brown eyes stared at her.

Good looking was much to tame. Handsome didn’t fit either. There was something dangerous and predatory lurking beneath the surface. Primal. Compelling. Yeah, that was it.

It was time for her to leave.

“While I appreciate the assist, I’ve got this.” She jerked her head toward the door, hoping he’d take the hint.

A ghost of a smile flickered on his full lips before it disappeared. “I’ve got nowhere I need to be.”

“Great,” she muttered.

His laugh slid down her spine, a whisper of heat. Her nipples puckered and rubbed against her bra. Uh. No. The last thing she needed was some kind of fatal attraction. Because he was one of two things—a fellow hunter or another vampire. Neither of which were good for her.

“Come now, I’ll help you clean up this mess. Then we can get a cup of coffee somewhere, maybe talk.”

“It’s almost one in the morning. Nothing around here is open.” God, she was tired. She just wanted to fry this vampire and leave. Usually they disintegrated fairly quickly. This one was taking his sweet time. He either wasn’t truly dead yet or he was very young. The older they were, the quicker they turned to ash.

Ash.

“Your name is Asher?”

He inclined his head. “At your service.”

Buy Burning Ash:
Entangled Publishing: https://entangledpublishing.com/burning-ash.html
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FGV7C9Q/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burning-ash-n-j-walters/1137455950
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/burning-ash
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/burning-ash/id1527096039

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
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Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/NJWalters
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/njwalters
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/n-j-walters

Flashback: Truly, Madly…Deadly (Contest–3 Winners, Plus Excerpt!)
Saturday, August 29th, 2020

UPDATE: The winners are…Colleen, Debra and Katherine!
*~*~*

Before I wrote bounty hunters, I wrote about vampires…

Contest

Answer me this for a chance to win your choice from among my many Night Fall titles!

Bounty Hunters or Vamps and Werewolves?

Truly, Madly…Deadly

Truly, Madly ... Deadly

Just this once…

On the trail of a serial killer, vampire Quentin Albermarle is mistaken for the killer by a police special task force. Once the smoke clears, Quentin finds himself in a delicious position—atop one of the unit’s crack officers, Darcy Henry. In need of Quentin’s access to the vampire sub-culture, the task force leadership invites Quentin to join the crime unit as a special advisor, much to the chagrin of the men in the unit, and especially, of Darcy.

Caught between opposing forces, vampire and hunter…

A no-nonsense cop with no time for romance, Darcy suddenly finds herself embroiled in a steamy love triangle between her mortal partner, Joe, and the handsome vampire. Going from abstinence to wantonness, she is unable to resist the two men’s relentless seduction or her own sensual curiosity about a vampire’s special “kiss”.

A hunger like no other…

When the real killer threatens the life of someone close to her, Darcy makes a choice that forever binds the three of them together.

Get your copies here!
Night Fall Series

“He’s coming in. Get ready.”

Joe’s voice jerked Darcy Henry to wakefulness. Berating herself for dozing off during a stakeout, she fumbled for the switch on her night vision goggles. Instantly, the landscape before her was awash in shades of luminescent green. She scanned the water’s edge. The crests of the ebbing tides rolled onto the beach, unbroken by any sign of “Bat-boy.” Had she already missed her opportunity?

“Where do you see him?” she whispered into her headset, glad the roar of the incoming surf masked their voices.

“Ten o’clock. Get cocked.”

She reached for her crossbow, drew back the linen cord with both hands, and latched it in the spring clip. Then she slid a steel-tipped arrow onto the track. Sighting down the shaft, she braced the bow in her left palm and dug her elbow into the sand. With the stock snug against her shoulder, she slid her right forefinger around the trigger and turned her sights back to the water’s edge—just in time to see a tall figure stride out of the surf.

He fit the description she’d purchased from the barman at the “blood bank” of the new vamp in town. Only, the barman hadn’t filled in all the details. Darcy stiffened against her body’s sudden surge of attraction and firmly reminded herself the vamp’s body was like any other man’s. Yeah, right.

Her gaze flickered over him, inventorying his characteristics—for my After Action Report, of course. Broad-shouldered, leanly muscled, just over six feet tall. Blond, she could tell, despite the fact his hair was plastered to his head. Handsome, too, with broad, prominent cheekbones, a longish straight nose, and lips that appeared permanently curved in a smirk.

Unable to resist the temptation, she adjusted the lenses of her goggles to zoom, and her gaze slipped lower. His package was as fine arriving as his ass had been going into the water. His long, uncircumcised cock dangled between his legs. Something else not mentioned in the barman’s description—and definitely not something that would make it into her AAR.

“Hold up!” Impatience clipped Joe’s words. “A civilian’s in your line of sight.”

Darcy lowered the bow, cursing under her breath. “Where? And how the hell did we miss that?” she whispered angrily.

“She had to have been here when we arrived,” Joe replied. “If I hadn’t seen her hand rise above the dune…”

Nothing was ever as simple as it seemed. A vampire spotted on Vero Beach just happened to meet the description of a suspected killer they’d circulated that day.

This night’s stakeout might be a bust, after all. They’d have to track him to his lair and try to take him out while he slept. Dusting a sleeping vampire never sat well with Darcy. Too unsportsmanlike. Asleep, even a probable serial killer like this one who wore an innocent face.

She burrowed deeper into the wet sand at the bottom of her shallow foxhole, prepared to wait it out. This time she wouldn’t doze, no matter how balmy the November night grew. Too many late nights and too little sleep were taking their toll on the whole team. Instead, she concentrated on how uncomfortable she was with damp sand working its way into her clothing and the smell of rotting seaweed all around her.

Having a target to observe helped. Hopefully, the vamp wouldn’t make a meal of his host and force Darcy to intervene. Hand-to-hand with a vamp was a last resort. Humans almost always lost to their superior strength, no matter how many degrees of black belt one had earned.

Joe let out a low whistle. “Damn! How’d a ghoul like that get such a fine piece of ass?”

A woman sat up near the top of a dune, her arms outstretched, revealing a slender back, rounded hips and a cascade of long, dark hair.

The vamp went down on his knees and leaned over her.

Darcy tensed, ready to spring to the woman’s rescue at the first sign of fangs.

Instead, the woman’s back arched to offer her breasts to her lover. His mouth closed over a beaded tip, and the woman’s loud groan of approval was discernible over the rumble of the incoming tide.

Joe’s soft laughter sounded in Darcy’s ear. “Better take notes, Darse. See what you’re missing?”

Darcy knew better than to answer her partner. Any response would only add fodder to the ribbing she’d receive at the Special Unit’s morning briefing. Her lack of social life was already a favorite topic. As it was, she was glad the guys weren’t wired in to her goggles.

Joe’s fed the monitor in the van parked farther down the beach.

Maybe she’d get even luckier and the vamp would move his tryst indoors.

Instead, he released the woman’s breast. With his hands braced on either side of her, the tops of his shoulders rippling as he “walked” down her body, he circled his head as he kissed a path across her belly. Then he moved lower.

Darcy squirmed. When was the last time a man had buried his face in her pussy? God, had it really been three years since Manny transferred to Miami-Dade?

The woman’s hips lifted, and her hands dug into the sand. His face reached the juncture of her thighs, and she shouted and thrashed her head from side to side.

Darcy wished she could roll to her back and give the couple their moments of privacy—and herself a reprieve from an unwanted rush of desire. Tight as a spring, the yearning wound inside her belly. She was helpless to stop the flush of heat that swept from her face to her breasts, and thankful for the darkness so no one on her team would see her blushing.

When she saw the suspected vampire rise to kneel between the woman’s legs, Darcy’s heart thudded dully in her chest and increased in tempo. His cock fell onto the woman’s belly, engorged and enormous, just before he hooked his arms beneath her knees and lifted her buttocks off the sand.

The woman reached for his cock and guided it to her pussy.

Then his hips slammed forward, hard.

The woman arched into the sand and shouted again.

No man had ever made Darcy shout, a thought that niggled her feminine pride while it aroused her curiosity—although, with his super-sized hardware, the shout might not have been one of ecstasy. The thought cheered her for the moment, until she noted the woman slamming her hips upward to meet the vamp’s thrusts.

From Darcy’s angle, she had a perfect view of the long, gliding action of his hips as he pumped into the woman’s body. Darcy’s legs widened, and she dug her knees into the sand, shifting her hips to relieve the itch between her legs.

“I’ll bet you twenty she comes before he does,” Max’s voice broke in.

“You’re on,” said Joe. “What man wouldn’t come all over a woman like that?”

“Ahem. Just a little reminder, guys,” Darcy said, hoping to cut off this particular line of conversation. “Captain will be reviewing this feed, too. Joe, you better not have on your zoom.”

Soft chuckles sounded from the guys, but they soon quieted and hunkered down to wait—and watch.

Darcy’s attention returned to the couple farther down the beach.

The woman’s legs straightened, her toes pointing toward the moon, and her long moans indicated she was fast approaching the big O. The vampire ground his hips into hers, and the woman screeched.

Joe groaned.

“You owe me twenty,” Max said.

“Damn,” Phil whispered. “Wonder if the wifey will be up for a little tickle in the morning.”

“I’m telling Bets you called her that.” Darcy’s mouth was so dry the words almost cracked.

The woman’s legs jerked up and down.

The vamp flung back his head and thrust faster. Suddenly, he stopped, his nose lifting into the breeze.

Realizing the wind had shifted, Darcy hugged the sand and held her breath.

The vamp turned his head and stared straight at her.

Darcy froze, hoping he hadn’t really seen her. But a grin stretched across his face.

“Fuck, Darcy!” Joe shouted into her headset. “You’re made. Get out.”

Darcy couldn’t risk a shot with the woman downrange. She ditched her crossbow, ripped off her goggles, and sprang from the foxhole. Running straight for the road a hundred yards in front of her, Darcy felt the world slow. Her feet mired in the sand. Her heart drummed loudly in her ears.

Then she heard bare feet pounding in the sand and knew he was gaining.

“I’ll try to get off a shot,” Joe said, his breaths coming short and fast, “but he’s moving in on you. Pick up your feet. You’re running like a damn girl.”

Anger and a spurt of adrenaline increased her pace. She leapt over a hummock of tall sawgrass and hoped it scraped his balls. The road was fifty yards away. The headlights of the approaching van swept the beach in front of her.

“He’s too close. I can’t get off a shot,” Joe said. “Hold him off. I’m coming.”

Twenty-five yards and uphill now, she strained, her boots sinking ankle-deep as she climbed a dune. She reached the top, and then her feet left the ground as a heavy weight knocked her through the air.

They rolled to the bottom of the dune in a jumble of twisting limbs. When they stopped, his long, hard body stretched over hers, anchoring her to the ground.

Darcy opened her eyes, expecting a vampire’s mask and a row of jagged teeth. Instead, the vamp’s handsome face hovered only inches from her own. She drew a deep, shuddering breath.

“Well, well, well,” he said, his voice a low, rumbling purr. “A she-cop. A dangerous species, indeed.”

“You’re English,” she blurted. Something else not in the report. Was he even a vampire? Despite the layer of clothing separating their skins, Darcy burned from his heat. She struggled against his restraint.

He stretched and hooked his ankles around hers, and his hands held hers easily to the ground above her head.

Finally defeated, she let her head fall back in the sand. “So, how’d you know I was there?” she asked, already knowing the truth, but needing to distract him. His teeth were too close for comfort.

His face lowered, and he sniffed along her neck and the collar of her shirt. “My dear, I could smell your arousal. Delicious.”

ALL THE NIGHT FALL BOOKS!

Click image to get your copy!

Silent is the Knight Sm(b)itten Truly, Madly ... Deadly
Knight in Transition Wolf in Plain Sight Knight Edition
Night Fall On Dark Mountain Frannie and the Private Dick Sweet Succubus
Truly, Madly...Werely (Night Fall Book 9) Bad to the Bone Long Howl Good Night
Big Bad Wolf

Christina Lynn Lambert: Music is a lifeline (Excerpt)
Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved music. I remember having a radio in my room and being amazed at the new songs I heard. I noticed how each song told a story with not only words but rhythm and instruments as well. When I got a tape player, I listened to “Africa” by Toto over and over. It’s still one of my favorite songs. More than anything else ever has, the notes of a song can soothe me when I’m upset. A good, fast-paced song can energize me when I need to get things done. I can turn up the volume and sing when I’m alone, especially when I’m driving down the road. The energy of a crowd at a concert can be inspiring. The connection to everyone around me singing the same song is incredible and beautifully impermanent.

The soothing power of music is an important part of Tiger’s Last Chance. In the story, Sean Whitman had a rough childhood and endured a brutal interrogation that tore apart his life and career, but he survived. In spite of everything he endured, his empathy for others never faltered. But he’s not perfect either. He is a recovering alcoholic and music is his lifeline when things get too intense for him to bear.

The song “Ball and Chain” by Social Distortion is playing in his truck in the first chapter of the story because that song kept popping up in my head as I wrote his character. For Sean, music is the temporary armor that gave him strength and peace while he healed. I think music is a temporary armor for many people. The rhythm and sound give us joy and comfort in the darkest times.

Tiger’s Last Chance

While working a case, Sean Whitman is tortured for information, drugged, and bitten against his will by a shapeshifter. The fallout leaves him jobless, friendless, and dumped by his girlfriend. Needing a fresh start, he leaves town and opens a private investigation business. Learning to live life sober isn’t easy, but he makes it to the two-year mark.

When Detective Nikki Jackson with the Great Oaks, Virginia Police Department calls him, accusing him of breaking into his ex-girlfriend’s house, Sean can’t help but like the sound of her voice, despite her ridiculous accusations. He’s shocked when she calls him back with an apology then asks for his help as a consultant on a case. On the phone, her sweet, slightly Southern voice captivates him. In person, she’s unlike any other woman he’s encountered, and nearly impossible to resist. But could the sexy detective ever want a man like him?

After Nikki’s last dating disaster, the mountain lion shifter has sworn off men. Then she meets Sean, and with every second she spends around the tall, dark-eyed man, her resolve crumbles. But for some reason, despite the undeniable attraction between them, Sean seems determined to push her away.

An investigation into missing refugees leaves Nikki with more questions than answers. Her refusal to let the matter drop leads her to the discovery of a radical political group’s horrifying plot for dominance. Traitors are embedded within the very organizations meant to keep shifters safe. As the list of people she can trust dwindles, Nikki calls on Sean to help her unravel a web of deceit.

As Nikki and Sean fight for survival, his fear of losing her could become a reality. Will he get one last chance to show her he loves her?

Buy Links:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/b088p6mydb
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/b088p6mydb
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tigers-last-chance-christina-lynn-lambert/1137033221
iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tigers-last-chance/id1513644203
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tiger-s-last-chance
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1022227

Excerpt from Tiger’s Last Chance

For the briefest moment, Nikki felt the depth to which Sean might be capable of pushing her. His kiss was crushing and brutal. His tongue pushed past her lips and his grip in her hair tightened. If desire were a vine, it would have wrapped itself around her veins and encased her heart. The heat between them flooded her. There was a sweetness, too, in his kiss, and the sweetness made her burn hotter.

A polite cough from inside the waiting car put a quick end to things. Sean pulled away and met her gaze. No words, but she got the message. She wasn’t alone. Comfort and friendship; he’d probably meant the kiss to comfort her and had gotten carried away in the heat of the moment. He’d carried her away with him, and she wanted to take him so much further into the unknown.

With each second, each step towards the waiting car, she tried to find reasons and more reasons to ignore her growing attraction to Sean. The number one reason to forget about the kiss they’d shared—relationships were trouble. She had plenty of other amazing things in her life, including her career, her volunteer work, and her band, even though the band rarely played anywhere because the members had trouble aligning their schedules. She didn’t need a man. Besides, he was probably still messed up over Sydney. Also, he was a regular. Or mostly regular. Not to mention he lived over a thousand miles away in Texas. She should tell him the kiss was a mistake. One look at him and she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. The kiss they shared had been anything but a mistake.

Author Social Media Links:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/christina-lynn-lambert
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinalynnlambert
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15900423.Christina_Lynn_Lambert
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinalynnlambert
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/chris4lamb
Wordpress: https://christinalynnlambertwordpress.com

N.J. Walters: Why We Love Romance Series
Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

Why do we love a romance series?

Personally, I think it’s the familiarity of going back to visit places and people who are as recognizable to us as our next-door neighbors and friends. Being able to immerse ourselves in a world where we know bad things can and do happen, but there will be retribution and a happily ever after at the end. Sometimes when the world’s gone crazy, it’s a nice escape to visit one of these make-believe worlds.

Like most readers, I have my favorite writers and series. The In Death series by J.D. Robb, which follows Detective Eve Dallas and is already at 50 books and counting, just keeps getting better. Any Shelly Laurenston series is going to be unique, action-packed, and fun. The Guild Hunters by Nalini Singh is paranormal romance at its best. J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood world keeps growing and expanding, taking us deeper into their lives. When I pick up a book by one of these authors, I know I’m going to be treated to a wonderful read. Some series are finite—a trilogy or quartet—while others go on indefinitely. It depends on the author and the world they are creating.

The same reasons I love to read series are also the same reasons I love to write them. In fact, I can’t seem to not write them. Every time I start to write a book, before I’m finished it, I’m already thinking about one or more of the other characters, and I know they have to have their story told. The Blood of the Drakon series was supposed to be four books but ended up being seven. I figured the Salvation Pack would be five books. It ended at nine. As long as the characters keep talking, I’ll keep listening and writing down their stories.

The Forgotten Brotherhood is my latest series. This is a truly diverse group of characters. It’s been challenging, maddening, and downright fun at times to watch their stories unfold. Now BURNING ASH, book three of the Forgotten Brotherhood series, is on the way. I have four planned, but I’m already thinking about a possible book five. Who knows what will happen? That’s the fun of writing a series.

Burning Ash
Forgotten Brotherhood, Book 3

No one is more surprised than Asher, one of the oldest vampires on Earth, that he’s attracted to vamp hunter Jo Radcliffe. She’s smart, a talented slayer, and she’s gorgeous. Something about her pulls at him, like no one ever has before. For a man, whose name strikes fear in everyone––this is something new and intriguing. And quite possibly deadly, if she discovers his secret.

Jo has two things in common with the handsome Asher––they are both slayers and someone is messing with them in a very-much-trying-to-kill-them way. She’s not so happy about joining forces with a dude she doesn’t know. But he’s sexy as hell and really good at his job as one of the Forgotten Brotherhood, whose business it is to execute misbehaving paranormals.

She knows she’s bait in a larger plot to harm Asher and the Brotherhood. And there is nothing he won’t do, no line he won’t cross, to keep her safe––which may be the weakness that destroys them both.

Pre-order now!
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FGV7C9Q/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/burning-ash-n-j-walters/1137455950
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/burning-ash
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/burning-ash/id1527096039

About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Visit me at:
Website: http://www.njwalters.com
Blog: http://www.njwalters.blogspot.com
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Anne Rainey: The Struggle is Real
Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Life brings challenges. We all know that, right? As we find ourselves doing battle with a terrible virus that has swept the globe, it’s caused many of us to wake up and realize what’s truly important in life. Family and friends top that list. Without them, we struggle. I know that too well. A few years ago, I found myself floundering. Some big life things hit me, and I lost my love of writing. I even lost my passion for reading. I’ve always been a reader, and yet, I didn’t care about those fictional worlds anymore. Then the dreaded menopause monster kicked me while I was down, sucking the life right out of me. I honestly thought my writing days were over and that sent me into a downward spiral. After all, without writing, what am I? All those story ideas in my head, those characters talking to me every day had suddenly gone silent.

Writer’s block is the official term. Honestly, it was so much more than that.

I felt as if I had nothing that I could call my own. It’s a terribly dark place to be. The people in my life tried to help, but it’s a solitary journey, to tell the truth. It wasn’t until my health started to suffer, that I realized I needed to take control. I started with exercise, which inevitably led to eating better. My mood improved, and the mental fog began to clear. The story ideas started trickling in. Yes! Before I knew it, I was writing and reading again. I’m thankful for authors like Shannon McKenna, Laurann Dohner, Delilah Devlin, Nalini Singh, and Lucy Monroe for getting me through the darkest days. Their stories kept me sane.

And since August of last year, I’ve managed to release six brand new books. I’m proud of that accomplishment, but it’s only a drop in the bucket. My writer’s brain never sleeps now. And you won’t hear me complaining, lol. I’ve started a new steamy contemporary romance series titled, Men of Silverlake. The first three books are available for purchase: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086XCR45Z And I’ve dipped my toes into the paranormal romance genre. I’m having such fun, too! The first two books in my Zenarian series can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084VLYQKT

Dyre: Zenarians, Book 3 (Coming Soon)

She will test his allegiance…

As the leader of the red guard, Dyre is aware that most Zenarians fear him. He’s often been forced to use that fear to uphold the six laws and protect the Zenarian race. With the rebel faction increasing their numbers every day, all his focus is centered on securing the mountain they call home from any and all threat. When he spots a human female much too close to their border, Dyre quickly captures her. His intention to interrogate the pretty brunette goes up in smoke the instant his wings encircle her small, curvy body. She stirs his creature. When Dyre notices the cuts and bruises littering her fair skin, he breaks protocol and brings her home.

Jade is on the run from the law. Or more accurately, the law according to Granger Wasser. As sheriff of Macone County, Granger has appointed himself judge and jury and everyone in town is too afraid to oppose him. When Jade turns down his marriage proposal, it sets off a chain reaction that forces her to flee to parts unknown. Imagine her surprise when she runs smack into a crimson-winged alien! His gentle touches ignite her blood and Jade wants nothing more than to surrender to the wildfire brewing between them. Still, Dyre is a man. And trusting a man is how she ended up falling down the rabbit hole to begin with.

Read more about the Zenarian race here: https://www.annerainey.com/zenarians-series

Find me and say hi:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annerainey
Rainey’s Readers Private Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/785284435328066/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annerainey49/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annerainey15
Website: https://www.annerainey.com/ –download the first chapter *free* of all my books!

Happy reading,
Anne Rainey